On my hike down memory lane, I stumbled across this gem……….

Hullo, Goodbye

Growing up on a farm many, many years ago, we had no television, no iPads, and no iPhones, so we forced to play to amuse ourselves.  And play outside, notwithstanding.

Now in Northern Rhodesia, as Zambia was then known, midday temperatures rose to phenomenal degrees, sometimes reaching 35 degrees in the shade.

At this time of day, it was ‘tools down everybody’, and my father would come home from the lands for lunch, have a quick nap, then after an hour or so, return to his work.

We children were also supposed to ‘lie down’ as it was known.  Having so more energy, however, we soon became bored and restless. Notwithstanding the strict orders to be quiet, and rest, we would sneak out of our rooms and go outside to find some entertainment.

One day we were riding our bicycles while our parents slept.

Now, at this point, I should note that my father had an artificial leg, having lost it in a mining accident when he was inspecting the fuses, and some crazy individual set them off too soon.

So, on this day, he and my mother were fast asleep, and all was quiet.

We rode our bikes quietly outside for a while. Going around and around the house, but this got a bit boring after some time. To crank up the fun, we started racing one another, going in opposite directions around the house. When we met, we greeted each other, “Hullo”, and then bade each other farewell, as we parted ways, “Goodbye “.

Soon it became a game of ‘hullo/goodbye’, which kept us quietly amused for a while but gradually escalated into a full-blown yelling contest.

We got louder and louder, the more fun it became until eventually, we were screaming out “HULLO!” GOODBYE!”

Fun for us, not so much for parents trying to nap.

Eventually, however, it became too much for my dad. He came flying out of the house, brandishing his belt and yelling, “I’ll give you hullo/goodbye!”

That meant ‘hullo belt, goodbye bum’.

We scattered Peter in one direction, me in another. I ran inside and dived under the nearest bed I saw. It was one of those metal ones, with a lacework of metal wires for springs. In my panic, it didn’t register with me that there was no mattress on the bed.

So, I lay there with my face buried in my arm, trying not to breathe, and quite sure I was hidden.

That actually saved my bacon. My dad was so amused at my stupidity. He completely lost his anger and began laughing. I was so relieved because, believe me, my dad knew his bible and understood ‘Proverbs 13:24, which is virtually ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’.

To this day, though, I still marvel at the speed he maintained with that artificial leg and all.

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